EUROPE/RUSSIA – Catholic bishops in Russia: war has never been and will not be a means of solving problems between nations



EUROPE/RUSSIA – Catholic bishops in Russia: war has never been and will not be a means of solving problems between nations

Moscow (Agenzia Fides) – “The harsh confrontation in Ukraine has degenerated into a large-scale military conflict which has already caused thousands of victims, undermined trust and unity between countries and peoples and threatens the existence of the whole world. (.. .)
We want to follow the teaching of the Church, according to the Gospel and the Tradition of the ancient Church: war has never been nor will it be a means of solving problems between nations; “Nothing is lost with peace, everything can be lost with war” (Pius XII, 1939). Thus begins the appeal of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia regarding the declared partial mobilization in the Russian Federation. The appeal, published yesterday and signed by Paolo Pezzi, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Mother of God in Moscow, on behalf of the Episcopal Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, offers some guidelines for lay and religious Catholic faithful of Russian nationality, which now find themselves forced to make difficult choices. In the appeal, among other things, it is recalled that the Constitution of the Federation protects those who repudiate the use of arms for reasons of conscience. While confirming the impossibility of taking a different path, aimed at avoiding further bloodshed, the bishops ask that the words of Pope Francis to Nur-Sultan, during his recent apostolic trip to Kazakhstan, be taken into account: “Let’s not get used to war, let’s not resign ourselves to the inevitable. Let us help those who suffer and insist that peace be truly achieved. What must still happen, how many deaths must we expect before rivalries give way to dialogue for the good of the people, of peoples and of humanity? The only way out is peace and the only way to achieve it is through dialogue”. The Episcopal Conference says it is aware of the need for governments, in certain situations, to resort to the use of arms and to ask citizens to fulfill their duty for the fatherland and for the common good, specifying: “What has been said is true if the military action is aimed at ending the conflict as soon as possible and avoiding the multiplication of victims”. text to understand this passage from paragraph III of article 5 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2302-2317), which admits recourse to war only for self-defense and only in the event that certain conditions arise . The Conference stresses that the final decision whether or not a citizen will participate in war is a matter that falls within the sacred dimension of his own conscience. It also recalls that both the teaching of the Catholic Church (Catech ism, §2311) and the third paragraph of Article 59 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation protect those who, for reasons of conscience and religious belief , reject the use of arms. The recall comes after the official announcement on September 25 on the government portal “Ob””, a service that answers questions most frequently asked by Russian citizens, who said it was impossible for objectors to aware of carrying out work of general interest during the mobilization period, denying in fact a legal option other than sending calls to arms to the front in the current phase of partial mobilization. As for Catholic religious, the Episcopal Conference recalls that their participation in the war is categorically prohibited, both by the Tradition of the Church of the first centuries and by the international conventions in force.According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, several Russian Orthodox priests have been summoned in recent days in military police stations. Their non-enlistment was not justified by their religious status. , but by reference to other inco compatible with the directives received so far from the recruitment offices. The document ends with a call to all Catholics in Russia to pray and fast “for peace” and to priests to offer the celebration of masses with specific prayers for the same purpose. (CD) (Agenzia Fides, 09/29/2022)

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